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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Cards of 2013

#5 - Kyurem  

- Plasma Freeze

Date Reviewed:
December 27, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.13
Limited: 4.48

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#5 Kyurem (Plasma Freeze)

Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘I really love the power and speed of Basic EX Pokémon, but wish they didn’t give up two Prizes’? Well, this card is the closest you are ever likely to get to realising that dream.

Kyurem comes with the non-EX Basic maximum HP of 130 and two attacks that would not be out of place on an EX. The first, Frost Spear hits for 30 and snipes for 30 (hey, just like Landorus EX!). Great for early game pressure and setting up future KOs. The second, Blizzard Burn, hits the Active for 120. That’s something that most EX Pokémon can’t even do. With help from some combination of Hypnotoxic Laser/Deoxys EX/snipe damage/Silver Bangle, you can realistically achieve OHKOs on 180 HP EX’s. With a non-EX Basic. How good is that?

It doesn’t end there of course: Kyurem also benefits hugely from Plasma support (especially Deoxys EX, Colress Machine). But its main attraction is the ability to go toe-to-toe with the big boys of the format and always trade favourably. No wonder it has become the centrepiece of the highly successful ‘Plasma’ deck: it really is ridiculously good. In fact, if there is a better non-EX Basic attacker in the history of the game, then I must have somehow forgotten about it.


Modified: 4.5 (made my top 3, no question)


We end this week by looking at our number five pick, Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze 31/116), or Kyurem [Plasma] if you want to be specific as I often do.  We first reviewed it here where we ranked it as the second most promising card of BW: Plasma Freeze.  Like many cards on this list, it debuted not only under the previous rules, but under the previous format and two sets ago.  As such in its relatively short life, it has already seen some significant changes.


The good news for it is that it is still a big, Basic Pokémon clocking in at the current printed maximum 130 HP (at least for something that isn’t a Pokémon-EX).  It can tap all that wonderful Team Plasma Support, and while Silver Mirror can be a pain and people are still trying to make a go of Haxorus (BW: Plasma Blast 69/101), it is still definitely a net advantage.  Being a Water-Type still allows you to hit a few key Pokémon for Weakness, though the exact composition will vary depending on the metagame and as far as I can tell, it’s not a major focal point for the card.


The Metal Weakness is probably safer now; I know that Metal-Type Pokémon haven’t vanished, but the loss of Klinklang (Black& White 76/114) means Shift Gear decks are no more.  Lack of Resistance is still a bummer but not a problem and the chunky Retreat Cost of three can be an issue but most decks are going to have alternatives to manually retreating at full price so it isn’t a major concern, and in a few decks you might even take advantage of Kyurem [Plasma] being a legal Heavy Ball target.


Frost Spear really takes a hit due how things have changed since this card’s first appeared.  No more attacking first turn makes the (WC) cost just a little less significant; thanks to Colress Machine and Plasma Energy, this Pokémon (a long with several other Team Plasma affiliates) could attack first turn fairly often.  Secondly, the erratum of Pokémon Catcher result in Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) becoming a fairly common piece of TecH; it has a lot better odds of staying safe on the Bench and Bench hits were an important part of multiple decks even before the aforementioned change to Pokémon Catcher made hitting the Bench technically more valuable.


Blizzard Burn has now become more valuable, again due to more recent cards and the change in rules.  While you can no longer perform strategic OHKOs as easily (again, Pokémon Catcher erratum), Silver Bangle makes it even easier to jack up damage.  That isn’t to say you ignore the “traditional” (a strange way to describe something less than a year old) set-up Plasma Haymaker decks tend to favor; 2HKOs (even those enabled by alternating Pokémon) are just fine but its even better now that a Pokémon Tool can piggy back on three Benched Deoxys EX or the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo to achieve OHKO range against Pokémon-EX.  Kyurem [Plasma] is an excellent representative of what Team Plasma decks have to offer.  Just remember that if it survives attacking, you’ll need to fall back on Frost Spear or have a means to reset the effect of Blizzard Burn.


For Unlimited, and this is pure Theorymon because the situation hasn’t changed (no play testing, no articles by others to reference, etc.), I would guess that Kyurem [Plasma] is “okay”.  The changes we got in November to the first turn rules didn’t neuter the infamous “Sabledonk” deck, which uses Sableye (DP: Stormfront 48/100) to go first automatically (or at least if it isn’t facing another such Sableye), then a combination of other cards to bounce your Bench (if you even had one) and place damage counters until your remaining Pokémon is KOed.  Losing the capacity to attack first turn just forces it to repeat the combo an extra four times, which does increase the odds of a needed card being Prized, a draw failing to yield the needed cards to continue the “combo”, or a misplay by the player using Sabledonk.  Kyurem [Plasma] has enough HP that it ups the odds of one of those last three things happening, at least a little and the Team Plasma “support” might throw a wrench into the plans of other classical decks that I expect would see play; Abilities don’t count as Pokémon Powers/Poké-Powers/Poké-Bodies and similar “this mechanic didn’t exist back then” loopholes are tantalizing.


As for Limited play, if you’re fortunate enough to still enjoy it with BW: Plasma Freeze boosters, this is a great pull.  It isn’t quite “just run it in a deck with 39 non-Pokémon for an all but guaranteed win” level, but it comes close so if you are daring you could risk it.  Otherwise make room for this and some Water Energy in your deck unless you do indeed pull a Pokémon-EX worth building a +39 deck around.




Unlimited: 3/5


Modified: 3.8/5


Limited: 4.95/5



Odds are I have done it again and apparently underscored an obviously great card.  Did I do it to be controversial?  Perhaps, but most readers should know that Kyurem [Plasma] is one of the great examples of how powerful Team Plasma Pokémon are, so if it was only for that reason I would look pretty stupid.  This is a great poster-mon for Team Plasma Pokémon because it’s a very good card on its own, but only becomes great with significant support, like Genesect EX and Black Kyurem EX before it (not that the latter is Team Plasma).


Without significant support, it’s a solid but unspectacular beatstick with sniping capabilities that currently are likely to be countered.  With support it’s amazing… but a lot of cards are amazing with support.  That’s why my Top 20 (I like to be thorough in case of tie breakers) list had a lot of Team Plasma Pokémon, but all in the second half: their strength comes from each other.  Kyurem [Plasma] did make it into my Top 10, but in the number nine position.  I also “low balled” it for the initial Top 10 Promising Picks of Plasma Freeze, where I ranked it as the fourth best card and time has proven that was a mistake.


5 - Kyurem (Plasma Freeze)
  The original Kyurem didn't really make the impact it was expected to after the success of Reshiram and Zekrom in the days of early Black and White. A 3 Energy spread attack just doesn't cut it when Basic Pokemon can have up to 180 HP, what's required is 1 or 2 hit KOs. Luckily for Kyurem, things got better once it joined Team Plasma! It's a pretty solid card to begin with, following the template of its predecessors with 130 HP, a 2 Energy attack and a 3 Energy attack. Of course, being a Team Plasma Pokemon is pretty much all plus sides and hardly any drawbacks (sans the occasional Silver Mirror). This gives Kyurem access to powerful acceleration in Colress Machine and damage boosting from Deoxys EX. This allows it to spread damage around like the original Kyurem but thanks to the support of its team mates it can deal decent damage to their active, setting up KOs much like the highly popular Darkrai EX. When a problem Pokemon needs taking out it has access to Blizzard Burn to deal 120 alone, 160 with 4 Deoxys backup or all the way to an overkill 190 with Silver Bangle! The turn out of action is often worth it to take out a troublesome EX, even if they can then KO Kyurem you're still ahead on prizes by 1. Even the Weakness isn't really a problem at the moment, since the rotation of PlasmaKlang's key pieces almost no deck runs Steel Pokemon.

  Kyurem is clearly an important card this year and provides the efficient Team Plasma engine with a powerful Basic Pokemon to run helping the deck reach the higher levels of the metagame.
  Like any big Basic Pokemon, it's going to do well in Limited. Though you can't really go 39+1 with it, it will take its fair share of prizes vs most Limited decks especially those that didn't pull a big Basic or EX of their own. Another good point for Kyurem is the lack of Plasma hate in Plasma Freeze, instead there's plenty of support for it at Uncommon in the Plasma Trainer cards. Only 2 Steel Pokemon in the set mean it's very unlikely to encounter its weakness.
Unlimited 150.
  Kyurem has to play a very different game in U150. Its best buddy, Deoxys EX is banned in the format and the Plasma support Trainers are spread thinner over 1 card each in a 100 card deck. Still, even with these drawbacks and facing life as an ex, the card sees some play. Dedicated spread decks appreciate a Kyurem #2, though it's definitely swapping places with the original in terms of power in this format. Glaciate Kyurem is a force to be reckoned with in U150 where true spread is a much more viable strategy. Kyurem Plasma can come in after a few Glaciates and start picking off weakened Pokemon and like usual, it has Blizzard Burn to fall back on which is much more likely to score a KO without support in this format. Outside of Water spread, in a Team Plasma deck its team-mates look quite different to the ones used in Modified/Standard, with the Eevee-lutions being the only line of Pokemon that can play all Plasma without resorting to 1-1 lines. This version of Team Plasma is actually more like a variant of highly variable Eevee-lution deck, utilising multiple types to always hit for weakness but with a little extra Plasma-themed support. 

  In short, seeing a Basic this powerful as a non-ex would have been unthinkable in the past. Being errata'd into an ex only makes it slightly more fair vs older cards and it is still a key card for some decks, outclassing many old Water Pokemon that were actually printed as exs!
Modified: 4
Limited: 4
Unlimited 150: 3

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